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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 14, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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reading about it. and i do think that if the republicans would go out into the rust belt and talk to these hard workers and tell them why the tax breaks are going to, quote, the job creators when they haven't created the jobs? i can show you the buildings across the street to prove that tax cuts for the rich don't work. how about let's invest in american workers like in toledo, ohio, and let's just see over the next ten years if that works. tomorrow night, "the ed show" will be in columbus, ohio. we'll see you then. the times are tough. the talk is crazier. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, trouble in river city. what's worse for president
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obama, that nearly two-thirds of the voters say they're angry, that a majority of americans don't think his jobs plan will work or that his own party is depressed. it's a trifecta of bad news for the president right now and the big question is whether the white house can fill the cracks before the president's re-election chances crumble away. that's where we start tonight. a bad night for the president. later, what's michele bachmann talking about when she suggests that vaccines can cause, quote, mental retardation. she was trying to ding rick perry for requiring that young girls in texas be immunized against a virus that causes cervical cancer, but now bachmann herself is under attack for making claims that have no basis in medical fact. and once again, the republican party looks like it's the anti-science party. we learned a number of americans in poverty shot up to its highest levels since 1993. nearly 1 in 6 americans are in poverty. republicans blame the president, but this economy is a direct result of the bush tax cuts ten years ago. the rich are getting richer, the middle class is shrinking and
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the gop has become a party where crowds now cheer loudly at letting someone without health care or health insurance simply die. plus nine-time olympic gold medalist carl lewis won the battle to be on the ballot of the state senate race out in new jersey. carl lewis joins us here on "hardball" tonight. let me talk about the battle of the planet of the apes in the republican party beginning with the concern among democrats. howard feinman is a msnbc political analyst and susan page is the washington bureau chief for "usa today" and writes many of their front page stories. i read them often, especially in hotel rooms, but they always seem to appear magically at my door. anyway, let's take a look at numbers. they are not good for the president or the democrats. majority now, 51% of the americans do not believe the obama jobs bill will lower the unemployment rate, according to a new bloomberg number. i believe that number, let me ask the group here. how does that number simply a reflection of the fact that you ask any question about the president's economics and they say no?
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>> yeah, that's exactly what it is because elsewhere in that poll and some other polls voters were asked about their views of the different pieces of the bill itself, you know, the ideas within the bill. they are more favorable toward the ideas in the bill than they are to the bill when it's described as barack obama's bill. >> they don't like the brand name. >> they don't like the brand name which right now is a reversal where things were. >> very bad news. >> very bad news for the president. >> that means what he's touching isn't working. >> that's true, and he's having trouble breaking through getting people to believe what he says or even listen to what he says. the big speech to the joint session of congress did not budge his job approval rating. >> 30 million people watched it. >> doing what political advisers say he needed to do, get outside of washington and press the same message over and over again. it's not having an effect on the approval that he has. >> a cnn opinion research poll asked americans if they were angry about how things were going in america. 72% said angry is the word. you see it and hear it. 71% say they are scared and then
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you get angry about how things one of the reasons people don't like criminals, they make them scared. >> and this is i think the worst news of all for president obama. to be running for re-election in a landscape where americans overwhelmingly say we're going in the wrong direction. i've lost hope on the economy. i'm fearful of what's going to happen next. that makes it very hard for an incumbent president to make his case. >> you know -- >> people don't like being scared because it -- and it makes them angry instead of making them scared. >> what's interesting about this is just the other day i was interviewing a democrat who is doing polling and focus groups for the white house and the democratic national committee. this was a focus group down in richmond. and this guy was telling me, you know what? people aren't angry. they wish the president would perform better, but they are not angry, and he kept underlining that they are not angry. now, maybe that was wishful thinking. >> yeah. >> because all the poll numbers we're seeing right now is that anger is the word, and that -- that is a problem. the other thing that's happening, chris, you know, the
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president got pretty good reviews from the media and the commentary for that speech the other night. he had the best possible effort that he could make that was pretty much given good notices, the republicans kept their mouths shut about it. that the last opportunity to make the case, and it didn't seem to work. the "new york times" on saturday had a piece basically saying the bill wouldn't produce any new jobs. even people like stephen colbert and jon stewart who can be funny but not cutting or dismissive, i found if you look at them in the last few days, they were very dismissive about the jobs speech, which i thought was interesting. >> susan, do you think this resonates with the fate that president carter suffered in the summer '79, trying to talk about issues he cared about and people stopped listening? >> obama is in a better place than carter was. carter was at a 30% approval rating in the gallup poll at this point and obama is in the low 40s. this is the point when the presidents who win re-election begin to really build their numbers.
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this is when reagan was coming up, when clinton was coming up, soon they would be over 50%. in pretty good economies. president obama faces a situation where he needs to improve his numbers, even though the economy's numbers we know won't get very much better by election day. this is about the economy. >> yeah. >> he is likely to have on election day. >> that's the thing that's doing it, chris. it's not about the poll numbers. it's about the reality numbers. it's about the unemployment number and the median household income number. it's about the poverty rate number that you were just talking about. it's even -- you know, even the college board came out yesterday to say that the reading scores were lower than they have ever been. >> what do you make of that? everybody here is a parent or a student watching is trying to figure out why there's a connection. >> why there's a connection, why would s.a.t. reading scores go down? i'm curious if there's a connection. >> if people are working harder, families working harder, if the parents are worried and don't have time to devote to the education of their children or helping them with homework, who knows.
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my point is that all the reality check numbers -- >> are you wincing? >> i am, because i'm not sure it's fair to blame -- >> i'm not blaming barack obama. >> for the reading numbers going down. >> that's not what i'm doing. >> i'm trying to figure it out, you're on to something. we're all parents, empty-nesters now. >> semi empty. >> we're empty now and my wife kathy is a queen about some things. she will be working until midnight checking over their essays and every teacher gives an essay question every night, and they are doing it over and over and that effort is really a big part of being a parent. >> i'm not blaming barack obama. it was the tide of antagonism and worry about the economy that brought him into power. >> yeah. >> this is a big generation long transition that's happening here, but what i'm saying here is when all the numbers about the sort of health of our society seem to be going in the wrong direction. >> i'm with you. >> concluding that, it's hard for him to make the sale. >> politico reports today on the mood among democrats, quote, on a high-level campaign conference call tuesday afternoon, that's
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yesterday, democratic donors and strategists commiserated over their disappointment in the president. a source on the call described the mood as awful. people feel betrayed, disappointed, furious, disgusted, hopeless, all sources. you're chuckling but it's not chuckle-worthy in the white house. >> that's true and democrats are discouraged but president obama won't face a primary challenge the way jimmy carter did. >> why not? >> he's not going to do it because he's still strong enough with the base of the party and because there's not a strong candidate willing to challenge him. >> okay. let's talk about those two special elections yesterday. first of all, the one in nevada has never voted democrat apparently since it was a cd, and when the state was created back in 1864. drop that one. when new york city, whatever part of the boroughs goes republican, you know you've got trouble. a lot of ethnic factors, orthodox jewish voters, catholic voters very upset and urban catholic voters upset about same-sex. susan, by the way, even the president at his high level in
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2008 in november only got 55% there, so it's not some lefty district. >> barack obama's approval rating there is ten points below where it is nationally. while this has been historically >> it's in the 30s. >> where this has been historically a democratic district, it's been trending more republican, and as you say a combination of factors, the vote on same-sex marriage, the democrats voted for it in the legislature. >> some people called it a perfect storm, a bad storm. >> concern by some jews about treatment of israel. >> a lot about settlements, a very concerted group of people, somebody said it's a third of a third within the jewish community, it's very conservative, very conservative. >> a third of a third and a third, enough in a low turnout election to matter and what they are looking at is the vote coming up in the united nations for the palestinian state and all that. >> a great time to push the button. as i like to say bang on the pipes if you want hot water. >> frankly, the obama administration is now trying to turn that around in a very public effort that's probably going to advertise their own weakness. >> they can't stop it. >> they can't stop it. >> thank you very much.
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a bad night for the democratic party and the president. we'll be right back with more "hardball." thank you, howard fineman. thank you, susan page. coming up, michele bachmann, now a little entertainment is coming up here. she's under attack for suggesting a vaccine can cause mental retardation. if you're feeling blue right now as a democrat or progressive, stay tuned for a few minutes. you're about to get some comic relief. this is the latest example of a republican fighting science. this is the party of the planet of the apes. they don't like human history or science. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] when a moment suddenly turns romantic, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. even if it doesn't happen every day, you can be ready anytime the moment's right, because you take a clinically proven low-dose tablet every day. [ man ] tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity.
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don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to ♪ president obama continued his campaign for the american jobs act today. he spoke in north carolina. north carolina state university in raleigh, north carolina. let's listen. >> in north carolina alone,
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there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be repaired. four of them are near here, on or around the belt line. why would we wait to act until another bridge falls? >> well, actually according to the department of transportation's numbers from the group transportation for america, there are more than 2,300 structurally deficient bridges in the state of north carolina, 2,300 where president obama spoke today, by the way, north carolina's second congressional district represented by republican renee elmers, there are 139 bridges. just in that congressional district alone that are rated structurally deficient, bridges that need immediate repair or outright replacement and americans can be put to work fixing them right now. 139 troubled bridges this that congressional district alone where president obama spoke today. we'll be right back.
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i had a mother last night come up to me here in tampa florida, after the debate. she told me her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. >> welcome back to "hardball." that's presidential candidate michele bachmann on the vaccine for the virus that causes cervical cancer. later that day on sean hannity's radio show she tried to qualify her expertise. let's listen to her then. >> i am not a doctor. i'm not a scientist. i'm not a physician. all i was doing is reporting what this woman told me last night at the debate. >> well, the american academy of pediatrics quickly corrected bachmann saying her comments have no scientific validity, that's the phrase they used and we call the campaign of bachmann for comment. when asked numerous times whether they had reached out to the woman who made that claim about her daughter having suffered mental retardation as a result of taking the vaccine, the answer was varying versions of, quote, our focus on overreach of executive privilege and kroeny capitalism, two
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transgressions they say governor rick perry made when he tried to use an executive order to push through the vaccination program from a drug maker represented by a former staffer and later today rick perry weighed in with this. >> i think that was a statement that was no truth and no basis in fact, and, look, i hate cancer, and that's what this has always been about for me. did i handle this wrong? i've readily admitted that i did, that i should have done it a different way, should have had an opt in, instead of an opt out. but at the end of the day i'm always going to be erring on the side of life. >> wow, ed rollins is a political consultant, we know him well. until recently he was michele bachmann's campaign manager. thanks for coming on "hardball" tonight. >> my pleasure. >> are you still with the campaign? what's your status with regard to congresswoman bachmann? >> you know, i'm available if she needs to call me and ask me for anything. i'm more than happy. two weeks ago i made every decision. today i make no decisions. >> well, what about this decision to get involved in this issue of claiming that somehow the vaccine that was given to
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those girls down in texas caused mental retardation using the language of the congresswoman? >> no empirical data other than one individual woman coming up to her. i think mrs. bachmann is an emotional person who has great feeling for people. i think that's what she was trying to project. obviously she would have been better if she stayed on the issue, which the issue was the governor's executive orders and whether he basically made a mistake, as he said he did. he made a mistake. she made a mistake. the quicker she admits she made a mistake and moves on the better it is. >> she hasn't done there. here's rush limbaugh's comments today. >> i'll tell you, michele bachmann, she might have blown it today, well, not blown it, but she might have jumped the shark today if she would have just left it alone on this vaccination thing from last night, but she's now out saying that -- that this gardasil, now causes mental retardation, somebody in the audience came up to her and told her.
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that's jumping the shark. there's no evidence that the vaccine causes mental retardation. >> that was limbaugh yesterday, do you want to further comment comment on his comment about her? >> entitled to his opinion and has had a strong opinion historically. she needs to move on. the bottom line she can't prove the case, and it's better for her to get back on the trail and go out and do -- the best retail politics person in this campaign. she needs to get back to doing that out in iowa. >> i agree about you in her retail sales. she's very charming in person. my question is about her attitude towards science. does she believe this common sense, horse sense, what you hear word of mouth has relevance? i mean, when you hear somebody come up to me, you know the kind of people that come up to people in public life, people in the media like me. i get truthers coming up to me all the time with cock and bull stories. i don't believe them or even quote them. certainly wouldn't give them word of mouth to somebody else. why would she parrot what somebody said to her without checking out what somebody else said? >> it's easy to second guess
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when you're not there. you've been around candidates all your life, as have i. always important that you never say something that you can't back up with empirical data. if she's said a woman came up to me, i'll find out whether it's valid or not, that would have been a good statement, but the bottom line here is she has made what was a very positive debate and made the issue about perry to where it's now an issue about her, and she needs to move on. >> what do you think happened with her because i watched you working her campaign, and i've watched you. you're a pro. i got the sense when you were with her you were trying to discipline her in this sense, not in a patronizing way, but to do what jim baker and the others did with ronald reagan over the years, keep him focused on winning issues of the economy. you've seen the numbers we just talked about. this country is in such bad shape. you ride that pony. you don't need to ride off and find other ones. yet she wasn't doing well focusing on the economy. why not? >> she needs to add and i think she still will. you can basically be against obama, which most of the country is at this point in time. you now have to draw some
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conclusions as to how you're going to govern when you get in there. being against the debt, being against obama care are all fine, but then you've got to add some other things and i think she will over the next several months. if i would have stayed running the campaign, that's the direction we were moving in, and i'm sure that people who are around her today, on my team, will do the same thing. >> why is she jumping all over the shots then? >> i think the bottom line it comes back to a discipline. she's not a veteran candidate. she's a new candidate. she's a great candidate, but at the end of the day, someone needs to be there. when someone says that to her, basically say let's move on, let's keep it on the issue of executive abuse of power and keep it on perry. don't make it about yourself. >> you know, except for this crazy stuff about science, and i believe in evolution and i'm catholic as you know and i believe in evolution, taught it in school by a christian brother. i don't think it's anti-religious to believe that we evolved in a certain way. why we experiment on animals and why there's oil under the ground because it was put there long ago by organic forces. anyway, 260 million years ago, not in the old testament. the republican party is involved
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in a classic fight now like it was between taft and ike back in '52, like between rockefeller and goldwater, between gerry ford and reagan, between reagan and herbert walker bush. it's a great fight. tell me, is it really going to be like that center right or center versus right? is this where it's headed between what it looks like between romney and perry right now? >> i don't know. it's somewhat about a lot of these things are about religion and the evangelical christian is an important part of our coalition. at the end of the day, my sense if it does end up being romney and it does end up being governor perry, who's sort of the median in the polls now, basically indicate it's a two-person race, i think it still can evolve to where somebody else can get in. perry may stumble. i don't think it's a foregone conclusion. if it is though, it's kind of the mainstream establishment candidate that romney represents versus the two-party conservative western southern part of the party which perry would represent. i think at the end of the day, historically the establishment candidate wins. this may be a different environment. >> do you think in a country
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that's 70% angry at a non-angry candidate like romney can win? that's why it might be a different year. it looks like your party may act like the democrats, not like the republicans of old of picking whose turn it is, the establishment candidate, pick the mood, the zeitgeist like the democrats do? >> the most important thing in the polling data is republicans want someone who can basically beat obama. that's first and foremost. >> okay. >> the sidebar issues don't matter. at this point in time they want him out and want one of our candidates to beat him. whichever one has the best chance is the person who will be the nominee. >> is there a secret unspoken, i've worked on this kennedy story with this book i've done. is there a secret underground anti-mormon vote that won't speak its mind that may hurt romney in the south when you get down there? >> it may. i think it's sad if it does but i think it is. i think it affects more a nomination process than it does a general election process. i think people are now getting used to romney. he's been running for six, seven years, and i don't think the
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issue is being raised in the same way it was two or three years ago, but at the end of the day, there's always bias in politics, and, unfortunately, religious bias is one of those biases. >> who do you want to win the nomination? >> i still want michele bachmann to win the nomination. >> you would like to see her president? >> i think she's a great candidate. i think she's evolved and will evolve. she's got an uphill battle. >> would you like to see her as president of the united states, controlling the bomb? >> well, first of all, the bomb -- i want someone to control the economy, and i think she's right on those issues. >> you would make her commander in chief? >> whoever is president gets to be commander in chief. the one in there today didn't have much experience. >> you're hedging. >> would you like to see her commander in chief of the united states, michele bachmann? >> elected president she's commander in chief. >> would you like her to be commander in chief? >> i have no question that she could be a very tough commander in chief. >> so slippery, ed, not answering my question, but i know i'm not getting an answer from you. >> you got as much as you're going to get. >> have you gotten as hypnotized as she seems sometimes? >> have i gotten hypnotized, you've known me for 40 years, i don't get hypnotized.
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>> okay, thank you. i heard your answer. we're going to go over the recordings over and over again to find your meeting. david korn, washington bureau chief and msnbc political analyst, not quite ready to say she ought to be in charge of the nuclear arsenal. >> but you asked ed rollins, her former campaign manager if he would like her to be president, and what he said was i think she will evolve. that is not -- >> but she doesn't believe in evolution. >> maybe politically. that is not a ringing endorsement from someone who worked close with her to make -- to get her the nomination. >> how about being commander in chief and controlling a nuclear arsenal? it comes with the job. >> he wasn't very enthusiastic about that prospect either. >> let's talk about the republican party. i'm a believer in modern science and also religious and do think there's no distinction between the two. you can believe everything you can about the nature of our -- you know, nature of our universe and existence. >> sure. >> the way it evolved. why do you think we experiment on animals, because there is a relationship historically way back when. why are the republicans hung up
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on science? why are there people instinctively like bachmann that think there's a big win if you oppose vaccination? >> it's the base they are playing to where science is often inconvenient. you look at, say, global warming, and it's undeniable. rick perry gets out there and michele bachmann that says it's a hoax. rick perry can't name one scientist, but there's a reason why. >> let me go deeper. >> i'm sure it's their own beliefs. they don't want to have to deal with the consequences and they are dealing with -- >> okay. let's look at the history, what was said about evolution. let's look at this montage, republicans on evolution. >> there is a controversy amongst scientists about whether evolution is a fact. >> this comes from a reader and was among the top vote-getters in the early rounds. want a yes or no? >> do you believe in evolution? >> yes. >> i'm curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not believe in evolution? >> yeah. >> may i just add to that?
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>> sure. >> i believe in evolution, but i also believe when i hike the grand canyon and see it at sunset that the hand of god is there also. >> you know, it's a theory that's out there. it's got some gas in it, but in texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. >> ask him why he doesn't believe in science? >> i figure you're smart enough. >> what kind of talk is that, a kid in school is being asked a historic question about science and the evolution of man? why do they keep going back to this horse sense thing? >> it's not reality-based, but they are playing to an audience. it's not their own personal beliefs that are driving them. >> how do you know that? >> that's my guess. michele bachmann -- >> mimicking these people. >> michele bachmann does not believe in evolution. look at what mccain did. as soon as he saw he was on the wrong side of that answer, he starts talking about god's beauty and the grand canyon and you saw the hands going up. by and large, they are playing
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to a base of people who don't believe in science because it may be anti- -- >> this is planet of the apes. this is planet of the apes. any sign of science gets you in big trouble. >> look at jon huntsman. >> can't show any brains anymore in the republican party. >> thank you, david corn. >> sure. >> newt gingrich's reaction to the weird moment at the debate the other night when the crowd cheered for the idea of letting someone die because they didn't have health insurance. what is going on? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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first up, talk about creating a sideshow. in a house subcommittee session just yesterday, a group of republicans proposed an interesting set of bills. the contents measures to strip president obama of his ability to designate certain areas as
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national monuments. well, republican congressman denny rayburg of montana summed up his efforts saying we must cope with the constant knowledge that one day we could wake up to find that with the stroke of a pen, the president declared their backyard a national monument. this guy sounds like a real piece of work. u.s. presidents have maintained this power since 1906 and it's led to the establishment of little-known areas like the grand canyon. and next up on monday night we heard the audience of that cnn tea party debate erupted cheers when candidate ron paul was asked whether an uninsured man in a coma should be left to die. yesterday other candidates were asked to respond to this disturbing crowd reaction. here's what newt gingrich had to say. >> historically we had charity, we had places that said if you're down on your luck, if you fail to be responsible, we will take care of you, but that doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to get a
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private room, it doesn't mean you're necessarily going to get everything somebody would get who's been prudent and who took care of themselves. yes, we're going to make sure they're taken care of, but they ought to understand that's charity. >> well, talk about crapola. that was newt out there dancing. the crowd cheered for letting that person die, not get a double room. this is what "washington post" columnist said earlier when he wrote if you came up with a bumper sticker that pulls together the platform of this year's crop of republican presidential candidates, it would have to be repeal the 20th century, vote gop. pearlstein knows how to make a point. wow. up next, and this is serious, the poverty rate is going up in this country and today's republican party isn't helping. they want to roll back much of the social safety net that helps the poor. they cheer at the idea we should let people die without health insurance. what is going on? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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hey there, here's what's happening. 78-year-old supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg was forced to slide down an emergency chute when her plane was evacuated because of engine trouble at dulles international airport. the fbi says a tanker truck carrying 3,000 gallons of gasoline was found in downtown philadelphia after it was stolen in maryland tuesday. police in utah have found a set of human remains during a search for susan cox powell. they were found near a campsite frequented by her husband. three people were hurt when construction scaffolding at the u.s. border crossing near san diego landing on a number of cars. and a libyan official says the british prime minister will
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travel to libya on thursday, the first heads of state to do so since the rebel uprising. natalee holloway's father is asking a court to declare his daughter dead six years after she vanished during a graduation trip to aruba. let's get you back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." there was bleak economic news out there, bleak numbers released just this week by the census bureau that shows poverty, a word we haven't hear lately, is increasing here in our country. 15.1% of americans are living in poverty, a statistical number, defined as a family of four making less than 22,000 a year. that's four people in 22 or an individual making under 11,000 a year. that percentage is up from 11.3% just a decade ago so it's gone up about half. 50% higher than it was when this -- when president bush went into office. that's bad news for the average
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family. the median household income fell to just under 50,000. that's down from about 3,000. the numbers weren't bad news for everyone. the richest 1% of americans saw, quote, significant income gains according to the "washington post" today. despite all this, many republicans argue that the country needs to cut budgets for the safety net. hear the fights all the time, cutting medicare, medicaid, social security, for even keeping people out of poverty and republican candidates like rick perry and michele bachmann have said poor people aren't paying their fair share of taxes. hearing that a lot of raise taxes, create taxes in fact for the people in the lower income levels. what exactly is the republican plan to lower the numbers of americans in poverty? well, we won't get it from senator bernie sanders who chaired the hearing yesterday on the poverty rates. senator sanders, listening to you this morning. so impressed by you, for me, you're a little further left of me and you're a '60s guy and have a heart about this stuff and i really think we ought to hear from people like you more often in these times.
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maybe in good times i don't want to hear from you, but i do want to hear from you in bad times because you do have something of the understanding of the role of public policy. you don't just sit back and be herbert hoover again. we tried doing nothing. we tried balancing the budget. we tried cutting spending. even roosevelt talked that up in '32 as you know it. it didn't work. it landed up with 25% unemployment and horrific economic situation if it weren't for world war ii. so talk. what should we do? >> well, first thought, you were right a moment ago when you said we don't hear very much about poverty in america, and you know why that is, chris? it's because many poor people don't vote, you know that, and poor people certainly don't make a whole lot in campaign contributions so we kind of push them aside except when we can use them as a political football for the right wing to blame owl of the problems in the world on poor people. the reality is, we had a hearing on this yesterday. not only is poverty in america growing because the middle class is collapsing and more and more
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people are ending up poor, but poverty is not just what many people think it is. oh, people live in bad housing, you know. people don't have a good car. they don't go to the movies on saturday night. you know what poverty is about, chris? many people don't know this and this is what we heard from physicians yesterday. >> what? >> if you are in the lower 20% of income earners, you are going to die, d-i-e, six and a half years earlier than somebody in the top 20%. what do you think about that? >> that's what i hear from countries. i was in the peace corps and hear that from the country i was in, when they really have bad times. let's take a look at something i want you to talk about which to me is graphic, and i don't think i'll soon forget it. on monday's republican debate down in tampa where they are having their convention next year there was an exchange with representative ron paul about government safety nets. the specific question was whether someone without insurance who was in a coma should receive care or just simply be left to die? let's watch.
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>> that's what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. this whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody -- >> congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die? >> no. >> didn't you hear that hooting and hollering, like the roman coliseum, yeah, yeah, yeah, and the woman in the white jacket there, shaking her head positively, yeah, yeah, yeah. what do you make of this? >> well, i'll tell you what i make of this. i know ron paul and have known him for many years. we've worked together. ron is a straightforward and honest guy. i respect that. this is what these guys believe, and what they believe ultimately is everybody is on your own, and that's great if you have a whole lot of money. you know what? if you're in a coma and have a whole lot of money, you're going to get good health care, but what they are saying to working people, to the middle class, to low-income people, we are going to abolish social security. government shouldn't play a role
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in retirement security. we are going to abolish medicare and medicaid. now, that all comes under the rhetoric as we hate the government, but the reality is for -- and we're going to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy. the reality is we, ie right wing extremists believe that what society is about is allowing the big money interests and the wealthy to have all kinds of power, all kinds of privileges, but if you're in the middle class or if you're working person, forget about it. you're on your own, and if you get sick and you don't have any health insurance guess what. this is what they are saying. you are going to die. that's it, and i have to respect their honesty in saying it. that is their politics. that is what they believe. forget about medicare. forget about medicaid. >> who started the new religion that taxes and government are bad? they now treat taxes, these abolitionists, the way antebellum republicans talked about slavery, like it was an
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essential evil. >> absolutely. >> when did that start? >> what you got is you got some well-funded folks which have gone on, you know, they organized after barry goldwater was devastated. they came up with an absurd right wing philosophy based on iran's philosophy and what that philosophy is about is essentially you are on your own. and to be on your own means that we don't need any tax revenue for medicare, medicaid or social security. and in fact, somehow it is wonderful, you know, one of the points you made earlier, we should also dwell on, and that is while the middle class collapses and poverty increases, what else is going on? the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well. corporations are enjoying record-breaking profits. the rich are paying -- >> you know why? here's my theory. this sounds marxist and i don't want to skip to your left on this. >> oh, my goodness. >> i want to tell you something. when i see automation and go to a cvs, used to employ a lot of people above the poverty level,
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above minimum wage and you walk in there it's all machines. very convenient for the customer. it's all machines. a checkout machine that talks to you, don't forget to put your cvs card in and i used to have seven or eight cameramen, i don't have them anymore, it's all robots. >> yes. >> okay. >> everywhere we go it's robots. used to have a gas station, somebody would check your tires and oil, there ain't anybody there. nobody working in a gas station. >> but here's another reality, chris. that's an important point, no question about it. robotics, automation have played a very important role, but i'll tell you what else has played an important role and that is our disastrous trade policies pushed on us by corporate america. that is nafta, kafta, permanent, normal trade relations with china. do you know how many factories we've lost in the last ten years? the answer is 50,000 factories. when you go shopping, you don't buy products made in the united states. they are made in china. >> okay. >> we've got to work on that issue, rebuild manufacturing, create decent paying jobs there. >> you know where the problem is there, because my old neighborhood which was an irish neighborhood in north philly,
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african-american neighborhood, the houses are in bad shape and it basically looked like the same neighborhood except for one thing. there's no factory like there was for my grandfather to go work in two stops on the subway. those factories aren't there anymore. no job for the entry level kid who graduates from high school. that's it. >> we've got to tell our friends in corporate america to start reinvesting in the united states of america, rebuild manufacturing here rather than running to china. >> okay. i respect your logic. you're a '60s guy and on this particular economic situation you're the man to listen to. thank you very much. wish we didn't have to listen to you, but in these times you've got to listen to bernie sanders. thanks for joining us from vermont. >> thanks, chris. >> next, we're joined by eugene robinson, a more moderate fellow, msnbc political analyst. you know, i have to tell you, sometimes i think the guy is really stuck in the '60s, but yet we're back to worst economic times, not as bad as the '30s. look at the numbers tonight we came out with, gene. they are unbelievable. 70% of the people are angry as hell, given up and scared.
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>> yeah, of course, why wouldn't they be scared? i mean, you know, the economy is going through a terrible time, and -- and income -- there's this polarization, this income polarization that's been happening in this country. didn't start three or four years ago. it didn't start with george bush. it's been happening for decades, and -- and this is the result. the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer, and we have one of our two big parties increasingly adopting this, you know, every man for himself. every woman for herself sort of philosophy which i think is -- i mean, let's just call it what it is. i think it's immoral. i think this is immoral philosophy on religious grounds, on humanistic grounds. i think we are our brother's keeper. i think we -- >> what do you make of mitt romney, who seems like a moderate compared to these other guys, but he's saying corporations are people?
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they are not. they are profit-driven machines. >> corporations are pieces of paper with signatures on them. you know, that's the corporation. yes, people work at corporations, but -- but it's just -- it's a weird sort of ine rand philosophy. what did he do at bain capital? he was a champion of creative -- the creative destruction -- >> i wish the united states was doing a better job. >> the creative destruction of capitalism is a great force, but it has to be regulated and has to be channeled. >> okay. >> it can't steam roll human beings. >> it's not just the left that's down. i think the center is down right now. anyway, thank you very much, gene robinson. wish i had more time for you. couldn't stop bernie sanders there. didn't want to. up next, off and running, nine-time olympic gold medalist karl lewis won the battle. on the ballot in new jersey to run for senate. he's here next. we'll talk to him. what is it about these really, really good athletes that makes them want to run for office? this guy, nine-time gold medal winner. this is "hardball" coming up only on msnbc. important phone call i made.
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u.s. congressman dennis kucinich may not be looking west after all. he was thinking about going west to washington state. his cleveland district was not dismantled in a ohio redistricting plan which he feared and was redrawn and now includes toledo, home of fellow democratic congresswoman marcy kat ptur. he would likely have to defeat her in a democratic primary if he hopes to hang on to that congressional race. what a sad race, two good people. kucinich was considering running out in washington state if he lost his district in ohio. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] we always try to save you even more money
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we're back. my next guest may be best known for being the world's fastest man but he's currently involved in the race of his life as a candidate for new jersey state senate. the great carl lewis is one o the country's most decorated athletes. he won nine olympic gold medals for track and field. now lewis is running for political office in new jersey. he hit a few hurdles along the way. yesterday, however, the third court circuit of the united states state of appeals allowed lewis back on the ballot to become a new jersey state senator amid questions about his residency. we're joined by the man himself, mr. lewis, carl lewis. you're on the ballot. what was this fight about? whether you're actually a new jerseyite? >> that's what it was about. they were saying the amount of time i had my residency there. when we gave out information, it was approved. when i got down to it, i'm a new jersey person, raised there, went to school there.
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went away to start by business then went back to serve. they tried to challenge the time i came back. >> why should you be a state senator from new jersey? this is my favorite question, the ted kennedy question. why should you be a state senator up? >> it's a number of things, chris. this past few years i've been going around the world. studies, what i do. i speak to kids. i go to schools. i've witnessed the change in our education. that's a big issue for me. i see how we're being challenged globally where i go to china or india and those kids are educated, they speak english and they're trying to go on the internet to find jobs. so when i bring that back here, that knowledge back here, i'm working in schools. i'm a volunteer in my high school. a few years ago i challenged the children, the kids, ninth graders who were a terrible team that they were going to be state champions before they were seniors. when they were seniors they were number two in the state by two points.
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their grades went up, the discipline was better. many of them are going to college on scholarships. we have to get down in the trenches to work with these kids. it only cost me gasoline. i spent years and years in public service. i know what the people like. i'm willing to listen. >> best of luck. i want to remind everybody, we've put a lot of athletes into public office over the years. includes bill bradley, bill from new jersey who played with the knicks. shuler was a quarterback for the redskins in the nfl. jim bunning, he's a hall of famer from the phillies. metcalfe a hero of the olympics along with jesse owens. bob mathias was on the wheatty's box for years. and congressman jack kemp, a good friend of mine who passed away was a hero for the buffalo bills.
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why do you think athletes want to go for the big shot job of politics after they've already been heros? >> i know bill bradley. my brother used to work with him in the '70s and '80s. we retire and serve in the community. interact with people. this is a service, it isn't a politician, it's service so an extension of what we've been doing. >> carl lewis. good luck. i wish you well. i won't say break a leg. anyway, thank you, go for it. congratulations for getting on the ballot. when we return, let me finish, the planet for the battle of the ape. the republican party, they don't like human history, they don't like science. where'd ya go? there you are. there you go. [ female announcer ] you always went for the tall, dark, handsome types.
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let me finish tonight with this, the battle for the planet of the apes. that's what the fight for the republican presidential nomination is becoming, a battle among those who hate science, about who hates it the most. you know how you get into trouble in this electoral planet of the apes? you dare show any knowledge or respect for science. the accumulated knowledge of, pardon me for mentioning it, human history. oh, no. this is a summit subject you dare not mention, not if you're in the dreaded media. remember the last republican presidential fight in 2008. someone dared e-mail a debate question as to whether the candidates believed in evolution or not. well, there were a lot of nots. hush hush on that one.


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